Owen Paterson launches ECHR case over Commons standards process

Ex-Cabinet minister Owen Paterson launches European Court of Human Rights battle over Commons standards probe into lobbying that ended his career

  • Owen Paterson has complained to the ECHR over Commons standards process
  • Former Cabinet minister resigned as an MP as he faced suspension for lobbying
  • He is arguing that the process of investigation was ‘not fair in basic respects’

Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson has launched a legal battle against the Commons standards process that ended his career over lobbying claims.

Mr Paterson has brought a case at the European Court of Human Rights arguing that his right to a private life was violated.

Boris Johnson and senior Tories initially tried to defend Mr Paterson from the sleaze watchdog’s conclusions last year, before bowing to a backlash and triggering his resignation as an MP. 

A release from the ECHR – which is not connected to the EU – said Mr Paterson was complaining that the finding he had breached the Code of Conduct ‘damaged his good reputation’.

He also insists that ‘the process by which the allegations against him were investigated and considered was not fair in many basic respects’. The case is being brought under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which relates to ‘respect for private life’. 

The case has been ‘communicated’ to the UK by the court, meaning that an initial response is being sought before a decision on whether it is formally accepted.   

Mr Paterson has previously been an outspoken critic of the ECHR, saying the UK should ‘free’ itself from the rules.  

Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson has launched a legal battle against the Commons standards process that ended his career over lobbying claims

Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson has launched a legal battle against the Commons standards process that ended his career over lobbying claims

The case is being brought under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which relates to 'respect for private life'

The case is being brought under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which relates to ‘respect for private life’

Supporters raised objections at the time of the standards probe that there was not an adequate right to appeal the findings. 

Downing Street confirmed today that it is aware of the case, but refused to comment. 

The notification from the ECHR said: ‘Following an investigation, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (‘PCS’) found that the applicant, a Member of Parliament and a former member of the Government, had acted in breach of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament by misusing Parliamentary resources, engaging in paid advocacy, and failing to disclose interests. 

‘In addition, it found that he had failed to demonstrate the selflessness and integrity which formed part of the principles of public life. 

‘The report was placed before the Committee on Standards which recommended a thirty-day suspension, later approved by the House of Commons. 

‘That decision cannot be challenged. The applicant then resigned from office.

‘The applicant complains that his Article 8 rights were infringed, as the public finding that he had breached the Code of Conduct damaged his good reputation, and that the process by which the allegations against him were investigated and considered was not fair in many basic respects.’

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